Post-Grant Reports


Sabbatical Leave Report

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Higher Education | Nursing | Public Health and Community Nursing | Science and Mathematics Education


Increasing community health experiences for Linfield nursing students was one of the goals for Dr. Jackie Webb’s fall 2018 sabbatical. Today close to 58% of employed nurses are working in community settings including private practices, health maintenance organizations, public health agencies, primary care clinics, home health care, and nursing homes (NLN, 2016; AACN, 2016).

These accelerating changes in how and where health care is delivered have created demand for nursing personnel who can function with more independence in clinical decision making and case management, performing the traditional role of clinical caregiver, and teaching patients how to comply with treatment regimens and maintain good health. Today’s registered nurse not only must communicate effectively with patients and other health care professionals but also must have broad competency as a provider, designer, manager, and coordinator of care (AACN, 2016).

Various community nursing leaders representing seven healthcare organizations who hire close to 80% of community nurses in the Tri-Met (Portland, Oregon) area were interviewed between August and December, 2018. The goals of these interviews were to gain a better understanding of how community nursing is being defined in our community and to better understand the barriers to having nursing students placed in these community clinical settings. Findings from this qualitative study include some of the following:

  • There is a discrepancy in how community nursing is being defined in northern Oregon. For some organizations, community nursing means “working outside of the hospital”, while for others it means working with individuals and understanding the “community” from which they live. Nationally there is a lack of clarity for how to define Community Nursing.
  • A majority of community partners who are hiring nurses to work in settings such as primary care clinics, home health, outpatient clinics, etc., want to find nurses who understand how to deliver competent care to diverse populations. Understanding population health is a priority. They are also looking for nurses who are able to perform effective health assessments and know how to use community resources. Linfield’s nursing curriculum emphasizes Population health, and by fourth semester our students are very comfortable doing head-to-toe physical examinations. There is room for improvement in helping our students identify and work with community resources.
  • A majority of community partners agree that having nursing students is important; however, in many of the community clinic sites there is usually one registered nurse, and they are juggling many responsibilities, overseeing other licensed personnel, and have limited time for mentoring students. Developing mentoring opportunities will require placing students who have effective communication, physical assessment, and good understanding of patient education so they are seen as an asset to the care of their clients. Mentoring students will also require having faculty who understand the skills of the community nurse. A total of five new clinical sites were developed.


This research was conducted as part of a sabbatical leave in 2018.

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